Department Project Management

Project Management acts as a single point of contact for DLR-internal and external scientific users and customers.

Organisational and site-related functions of project management :

  • Technical and disciplinary management of project management for the installation of flight experiments at both sites in Braunschweig and Oberpfaffenhofen
  • Planning, coordination, change management and billing of all flight test projects at the Flight Experiments facility
  • Project controlling

Within the Flight Experiments facility, the Project Management department acts as the main point of contact and coordinator for all customer enquiries relating to the planning, preparation, implementation, invoicing and follow-up of scientific campaigns on and with the 13 DLR research aircraft, as well as the certification work required for the deployment of a scientific payload.

Project management coordinates all enquiries from the scientific side with the responsible organisational units of the Flight Experiments facility and, if necessary, with external development companies. Flight enquiries can relate to scientific research on or with the aircraft or to approvals or type tests of scientific instruments that are being processed by the DLR development organisation or external development companies.

Each project is assigned both a project manager and a project controller for the entire duration of the project, who are responsible for all coordinative activities as well as financial aspects including budget monitoring.

In order to realise this accordingly, a total of three teams have been established within the project management department:

  • Project management team Braunschweig
  • Project management team Oberpfaffenhofen
  • Project controlling team

With the help of cross-location, harmonised and professional project management processes, the foundation is laid for realising the challenging and complex customer requirements, namely to carry out science on and with aircraft.

These processes have been developed in great detail and cover the entire process from project initiation to project commissioning and realisation through to project completion. With the help of this process, project management is able to act according to the same procedures for all projects on DLR research aircraft.

Project management carries out an initial assessment of the enquiry after an initial customer idea has been submitted. Once a detailed customer specification is available, project management takes over full coordination within the Flight Experiments facility in order to initiate the project accordingly. For most complex projects, the initial specification is followed by a non-binding cost estimate, which is often iterated several times according to customer requirements and the available budget. Project management prepares the service description and initiates the offer for the customer. Once the project has been commissioned by the customer, the resources in the departments involved are finally allocated, assigned to the project and an order confirmation is issued to the customer. After the project kick-off, it is the task of project management to continuously monitor the course of the project, its progress and the available budget.

If adjustments are required on the part of the client or the organisation of flight experiments, e.g. in the event of complications with the approval of a scientific instrument, a corresponding "change request process" has been established. Even during the execution of the campaign, i.e. the actual flight, project management continues to coordinate customer requests and organises the flow of information to all project participants. With scientific projects in particular, it is often difficult to predict the exact processes months in advance, meaning that small adjustments to the original plan have to be made continuously. Once the campaign has been carried out and fully followed up, project management finally determines the end of the project and initiates invoicing.

The project controllers support the project managers in the area of budget monitoring and the corresponding source-based accounting of personnel services or material costs for all scientific projects on the 13 research aircraft.


Katrin Witte

Head of Project Management
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Flight Experiments
Project management
Münchener Straße 20, 82234 Wessling